Another Gay Movie
TLA Releasing // Unrated // $24.99 // November 21, 2006
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted December 10, 2006
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In 10 Words or Less
This one time, at gay band camp...

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Good indie films, parody, spoofs
Likes: Graham Norton
Dislikes: Ant
Hates: Richard Hatch

The Movie
Once Hollywood wore out the spoof genre with movies like "Date Movie," independent films got in on the act, making fun of their conventions in "My Big Fat Independent Film." Though it could have jumped on the bandwagon and and lampooned an even smaller genre of film, "Another Gay Movie" takes a different approach.

Starting with the teen sex comedy archetype (mostly cribbing from American Piefor its foundation,) the film recasts the story as an Abercrombie ad, loads up on gay icon stunt casting, and seasons the whole thing with nods to other teen-sex classics, as well as references to queer cinema favorites, including Mommie Dearest, Edge of Seventeen (written by Todd Stephens, the writer/director of this film) and even Get Real. The creators also made smart use of some gay porn stars, in a amusing flip-side of the T&A casting seen often in the genre the movie sends up.

The story follows four pals graduating high school as virgins, desperate to pop their cherries before heading to college. So like those infamous Pie-boys, they take up the eternal quest to get some, just from a gay perspective. Many of the more memorable parts of that teen-sex classic are represented in this gay universe, like annoyingly aggressive pal Stiffler (adapted as an even more annoying lesbian named Muffler) and the sexually-forward foreign-exchange student (here a sex-god foreign-exchange teacher played with an indeterminate accent (and disturbing appendage) by Graham Norton.) In that way, the whole affair has the feel of a Mad Magazine parody, taking the film and turning it a few degrees in another direction.

As far as the comedy goes, you have to have a taste for gay jokes to have a good time, and oddly, that includes the kind that proliferate in locker rooms. Every type of gay stereotype lives in the world of "Another Gay Movie," from the quiet, meticulous, buttoned-down homosexual to the flamingly flamboyant queen, and just about everything in between. In that way, the film is almost universal, as those who want to laugh at gay culture and laugh with it, will find something here to enjoy, including some of the crazier moments like the bathroom sex scene.

What those in the "laugh at" category won't go for is the over-the-top gay sex gags, including a ridiculous penetration with a toy better suited to hold up a table, some self-pleasuring bits lampooning American Pie in a rather obvious way, and a montage of crazy sex scenes parodying a section of Pie that I apparently missed. These will likely play better with a gay audience, but then, the straight sex play in Pie probably didn't resonant with them, so it makes sense in the context of the film.

I came into the movie expecting a campy send-up of American Pie, and in many cases, I got just that. Scott Thompson (playing something close to his Brain Candy dad) and drag superstar Lypsinka are perfect as the parents of one of our heroes, the look of the film is akin to a bag of Skittles exploding, and there's very little taken seriously. Unfortunately, the parody can get a bit lost at times, and it's obvious when it strays.

For example, we're asked to accept "Survivor"'s Richard Hatch as a desirable sex symbol (complete with a lovely look at his little Richard.) This wasn't part of the inspiration, and as far as I can tell, it's never been a teen-comedy staple. The same goes for one hero's blind girlfriend, who's adorable and funny, and whose costumes provide more opportunities for gay references. But when you spend so much of the film poking fun in such a specific way, you either have to stick to the concept, or completely change the situation (like the end of "Not Another Teen Movie.") If you don't, you run the risk of the parody losing strength, or worse, coming off as lazy or a misfire.

Packed in a a clear keepcase with a two-sided cover, the one-disc release features an animated full-frame main menu, with options to play the film, select scenes, adjust languages, check out the bonus features and view trailers. Audio options include Dolby Digital English 5.1 and 2.0 tracks, while subtitles are available in English. There's no closed captioning.

The Quality
The creators put a lot of effort into the film's look, and the anamorphic widescreen transfer on this disc lets all that effort shine through, as the colors are bright and vivid, and the level of detail is very high. There's no noticeable dirt or damage in the image, nor any digital artifacts, as everything looks great.

The audio is delivered as a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which is strong and clear, presenting the dialogue without distortion, while the soundtrack is nice and powerful, backed by a good LFE channel that makes the bouncy dance music pop.

The Extras
The big extra is a feature-length audio commentary by Stephens and producer Jesse Adams. Adams is mainly there to help spur Stephens and give him someone to bounce comments off of, but if he wasn't there, I'm sure Stephens could have filled the void, as he has plenty to say and pretty much all of it is of value, if you want to find out more about the movie and how it was made.

Almost 17 minutes of deleted scenes are available to check out, with more commentary by Stephens and Adams, including the scenes that play with the credits, this time in all their full-size glory. One in particular, a parody of an infamous scene from Trick (think "It burns!"), is worth looking for, as it includes a cut cameo by John Waters regular Mink Stole.

"Unscripted" an eight-minute Moviephone special presentation for the Tribeca Film Festival, is a high-gloss interview between Stephens and one of the stars, Michael Carbonaro. Stephens' side is something of a repeat from the commentary, but Carbonaro's comments are good, and the whole thing is done very well. It's followed by seven minutes of footage from a stage reading of the script, with most of the cast, and a few actors who preferred to remain anonymous, and thus, are blurred out. It's always interesting to see if a script works on its own, and this is a good way to figure it out.

Though there's no making-of featurette included for the film, three minutes of behind-the-scene material from Nancy Sinatra's recording of the film's theme song are found among the extras. It's a quick montage scored by the catchy theme song, making it a breezy little bonus. The disc wraps with "Pillow Talk with Grandpa Muffler," which is an odd seven minutes of audio of Stephens directs George Marcy's sex scene voiceover. It's just plain strange.

The Bottom Line
I don't think this movie will cross cultural borders to attract mainstream audiences, but is that a big deal? What's wrong with courting a niche and serving it well? Can't every group have a virginity quest to call its own? If they can remake Can't Buy Me Love as the urban-focused (and crappy) Love Don't Cost a Thing, a gay (and entertaining) American Pie makes perfect sense. Of course, I can't really say gay audiences will like it, but it's definitely intended to fill a hole out there, something at least one of my gay friends appreciated, as he found the film to be extremely funny. The DVD looks and sounds nice, with a healthy package of extras, making it a worth a look if you're interested in the movie. If you enjoy gay-focused films and over-the-top parodies, this movie could be your cup of tea. For most audiences, this is a rental, but fans of gay movies will probably get a lot more out of it.

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